Kgatlana says greater financial incentives can help Banyana focus
Thembi Kgatlana has said that greater financial incentives can help Banyana Banyana focus on trying to win Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) gold.
The Benfica striker won the Confederation of African Football’s (Caf) Women’s Player of the Year award in 2018‚ largely for her role as tournament top scorer steering Banyana to the final of that year’s Africa Women’s Cup of Nations in Ghana.
Kgatlana scored five goals and won the Player of the Tournament award as South Africa lost on penalties to Africa’s most successful women’s team‚ Nigeria‚ in the final.
Nigeria are 11-time winners of the Women’s Nations Cup‚ with only Equatorial Guinea having won the other two. South Africa have been runners-up five times.
Kgatlana believes with improved financial rewards on offer‚ Banyana might improve their conversion rate to a gold medal.
“Yes‚ I might want to win a gold‚ and a few players might want to win a gold‚ and we put in the hard work. But that’s not the end of it‚” the 24-year-old said in an online press conference with the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).
“Getting to a gold is a collective effort. It’s the technical team working with the players‚ and player with the technical team‚ like a well-oiled machine.
“Yes‚ we are slowly getting there. You could see in the 2018 Afcon that we had a will to beat whoever was standing in our way.
“If we can still have the same will‚ yet with a few things being given to us‚ or a few things being handed to us in camp so that we can focus on the gold‚ I think that’s going to push Banyana to a new level.
“One thing I realised‚ I think‚ with the victories of Nigeria is that every time they get to play South Africa in an Afcon‚ or wherever‚ they get incentives on top of what they are getting.
“And I think as women’s footballers that’s what we yearn for. Especially in African football‚ we don’t get a lot of money from the national team.
“So if somebody comes to me and says‚ ‘If you win gold you get an incentive of however many thousands of Rands’‚ I mean‚ that’s motivating enough.
“At the end of the day we are not playing for money. But if I know that if I get a goal it’s going to benefit me‚ and financial gains are also going to benefit my family.
“So we need sponsors to make sure they are going to help the federation to get the girls the things they need to equip themselves to make sure they become better athletes.”
It was reported that Banyana received a R2‚4-million bonus for reaching the 2018 Nations Cup final from the SA Football Association and women’s football’s loyal sponsors Sasol.
However‚ it has been reported too that Banyana players earns as much as 10 times less than their men's Bafana Bafana counterparts.